Deciding to enter an alcohol treatment facility is both empowering and a little scary. You’re taking the steps to help get you on the right track for mental and physical health and learning how to manage a challenging addiction. Alcohol rehab allows individuals newly in recovery the safe space they need to heal their bodies and start forming new, healthy habits, clearing their minds and focusing on healthy decision making.
At Sanctuary Lodge, we understand that treatment goes beyond helping you alone. We also work with your family and loved ones to help them gain insight into the treatment process and how they can help you achieve a happy, sober life.
How Does Alcohol Rehab Work?
Inpatient treatment allows you to detox safely, with medical attention readily available where needed. Compassionate care workers can help you through the physical ill effects and monitor your health. Did you know that just three days after you cease drinking alcohol, the neural pathways in your brain begin to heal? This process can cause secondary side effects, however, which medical professionals also monitor.
Recovery in inpatient alcohol treatment includes counselling with addiction therapists. It’s not enough to simply quit drinking. Successful rehabilitation includes re-structuring the brain’s thought patterns to help you avoid alcohol abuse after you leave inpatient therapy.
Examining your motives to drink and the emotions you’re masking with drinking is a critical part of the rehabilitation and healing process. Professional therapy, both one-to-one and in small groups, can help you process the pain and fear that lead to problem drinking and give you tools to manage your emotions healthily.
When you arrive at our alcohol rehab centre you will be assessed by our medical professionals. Your safety is our top priority and we want you to feel as comfortable as possible during your early days at our centre. We will look to review any medication you are currently taking, alongside any other substances you may be struggling with.
We will also assess whether you have, or have had previous episodes of mental illness. it is very common for those struggling with addiction to also present symptoms of mental health problems, its our duty to ensure that your rehab programme is tailored towards your individual needs based on our assessment.
Detoxing from alcohol begins between 6 and 12 hours after you take your last drink. It feels like a hangover — and that’s what a hangover is, a collection of symptoms that indicate your body detoxifying itself from alcohol. Bear in mind that alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening, so you must detox under medical supervision, in a controlled environment with addiction nurses who understand the early warning signs that your health could be suffering.
Seizures are a side effect of alcohol withdrawal, as are shaking hands and auditory hallucinations, a condition called delirium tremens. (2) These can be frightening if you experience them at home without a trained professional on hand.
Managing the detox process begins with a medical evaluation and monitoring of your heart rate and blood pressure twice daily. You may experience mood swings and irritability, as well as fatigue and anxiety. These mood side effects stem from a chemical imbalance in the brain and its efforts to regulate the hormone production that stabilizes your moods. Chronic drinkers have a different brain chemistry make-up than non-drinkers, as the brain overcompensates for the amount of alcohol and creates an overabundance of certain hormones, thus leading to anxiety and irritation.
Is Medication Provided to Manage Alcohol Withdrawal?
Alcohol withdrawal affects the central nervous system, detoxing from alcohol requires specialist treatment to avoid such complications. Paranoia, anxiety and seizures aren’t uncommon in those with severe alcohol addiction, but much of this can be managed effectively by our medical team. There are a few medications that can often help with severe alcohol dependence.
Chlordiazepoxide, also known as Librium, is a benzodiazepine that helps your nervous system overcome the impact of abrupt alcohol withdrawal. (4) It has anticonvulsant properties to reduce the instance of seizures and has a hypnotic effect to reduce insomnia and anxiety of the initial detox.
This drug manages acute alcohol withdrawal but itself can be addictive, which is why it’s typically used in a medical detox setting, with the appropriate dosing given to each individual based on height, weight and gender. As your body heals, you’ll gradually be weaned off the drug and may be given other anti-anxiety medications.
Many people become addicted to alcohol to deal with fears or overwhelming emotions and, over time, become unable to process stressful or upsetting situations without the aid of a drink. Sanctuary Lodge’s professional addiction therapy helps you restructure the thought patterns and find healthier solutions instead of drinking.
Individual therapy will be part of the program, with a licensed addiction counsellor. Your counsellor will explore any underlying trauma that led to alcohol abuse and help you process it in a safe environment. You may be asked to keep a journal to write down the emotions that surround certain life events. Group therapy is another helpful treatment. You’ll build valuable connections with others who struggle; at its heart, alcoholism is an isolating disease, and seeing that you aren’t alone can help you heal.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioural therapy deal with re-routing the pathways between the initial emotional reaction to a situation and the resulting behaviour — in this case, to drink or not to drink. (5) These are forms of psychotherapy that involve mindfulness and identifying the triggering situations and the emotions that follow. The therapies involve teaching you to identify the emotions that certain triggers cause. You’ll be given tools to help you slow down and process the emotions, training your brain to live in the moment and deliberately make healthier choices.
During your time in Sanctuary Lodge, you’ll begin to build connections with others in recovery. These friendships can be important once you leave, as you’ll have a network of others who have travelled the same path to recovery. Attending regular group meetings (including AA meetings) and staying in contact with others from your program can help you when you feel the urge to drink or begin to show signs of isolation that can lead to a relapse.
Relapse prevention is another key step in the inpatient recovery process. You will learn the signs that precipitate a relapse and work to create an individual program to help you halt the types of emotions and behaviours that lead to picking up a drink again.
Aftercare includes family support and alumni gatherings to help keep you on track. Creating a safety net to help you be accountable to your recovery can give you the strength you need during the low times.
The Benefits of Alcohol Rehab
Each client is different, and the types of treatment for one may not be as effective as the types of treatment for another. At Sanctuary Lodge, we offer both inpatient and intensive outpatient therapies for alcohol addiction. Success rates are higher for those who stay in treatment longer versus those who simply detox from alcohol and go back to their normal lives.
Inpatient treatment can be best for those without a strong support network at home. Benefits include:
- Safe space to treat addiction
- Removing you from the situations that lead to drinking
- Living communally with others going through rehabilitation
- Medical supervision
Drawbacks for inpatient treatment are:
- You may need to take extended time away from family and work
- Beginning inpatient treatment can be intimidating
However, taking weeks or even months out of your life for alcohol treatment may not be an option for everyone. Intensive outpatient therapy, in conjunction with professional counselling, may be an option for those with work or family obligations. These benefits include:
- Ability to remain in your home
- Counselling sessions and group therapy
- Monitoring to ensure that you aren’t drinking in between sessions
However, outpatient therapy doesn’t have the same success rates as inpatient therapy. Furthermore, if you don’t have a strong support network of family and friends, you may not be able to develop the new habits you need for success.
Further Reading: Matthew Perry Speaks Out About His Past Troubles with Alcohol
Further Reading: The Importance of Total Abstinence in Recovery
Further Reading: Total Commitment Essential in Recovery
How Long Does Alcohol Rehab Last?
Alcohol treatment averages four to 12 weeks, although for those who have been drinking for many years or even decades, staying longer can help their chances of success. Detox treatments typically last about 7 days, medically helping the client through the worst of the symptoms.
At Sanctuary Lodge, we offer 7, 14 and 28-day programmes, depending on your level of need. These programs help get you on the right track for making better decisions, although you’ll benefit from continuing therapy and aftercare once you leave. However, these shorter programs may not give you enough time to go back to your life newly sober.
We also have a comprehensive 90-day treatment program that has our highest success rate. A full three months gives you plenty of time to learn new habits and become comfortable identifying your triggering emotions and the situations that cause them.
Your care doesn’t end as you walk out of the door. Recovery is an ongoing process. This is why we provide free aftercare.
The Cost of Alcohol Rehab
While the cost of an inpatient program can be a little daunting, consider the cost of remaining in your addiction throughout your lifetime. Many of those suffering from alcohol addiction experience reduced effectiveness at work, which can result in being passed over for promotion or even the loss of a job.
Your relationships may suffer as well, and the enjoyment you have of life may be reduced. Plus, the money you spend for alcohol over a few years may match the cost of a treatment program, one that has lifelong benefits for your health.
Paying for alcohol treatment is an investment in yourself and your family and life. Each client is evaluated personally, including the programs they can afford. Some insurance companies may cover the cost of addiction treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
At Sanctuary Lodge, we have a dual diagnosis program intended to help those with a mental illness find relief. (7) Medication where needed and therapies personalized to treat both alcohol addiction and mental conditions are part of the program.
Having family and friends who can help you through the rougher times is critical to success. Many families benefit from therapy as a family unit or from Al-Anon groups, intended to help those related to the addicted person work through the effects addiction has had on them and understand the struggles their loved one is going through.